In this post, Broadcast Media Services discuss tips on how to make a great impression to an interviewer from a distance and present yourself in the best possible light.
Like any job interview there are lots to prepare for and soon you may well be involved in a remote interview. Not done one before? The landscape of hiring is changing, and Skype interviews are becoming increasingly popular with a survey concluding over 60% of companies conduct video jobs interviews. As businesses learn that hiring the wrong people can be detrimental to valuable company resources and time, Skype interviews allow recruiters to hire the best talent based on skill, not just location. For candidates who live in other cities or apply overseas, online interviews are just as effective as face-to-face interviews and allow savings on annoying travel costs too.
As most Skype interviews occur early in the application process, creating a memorable first impression is essential for success. Whilst preparation is important for any job interview, Skype interviews differ and requires careful thought to ensure no difficulties occur during the call! Here are some top tips on how to look professional when interviewed on Skype:
- Make Sure Your Username is Professional
Anything that is difficult to read or in any way resembles your childhood, might be worth avoiding. A bad screenname is the same as making a bad first impression. [email protected] isn't appropriate, so be boring and use your name.
- Get toCamera Eye-Level
Adjust the height of your laptop or computer so the camera is level with your head. If the camera is below your eyes, or too low, it will make your jaw and chin look disproportionally large. As a general rule, with Skype interviews, you will look better when you're looking up, not down.
- Sit Centre Screen
Make sure you're not cutting off the top of your head or your chin, and make sure you're not over to the left or the right. Angle your screen if you need to, or back away from your laptop. The best Skype interviews are properly framed by creating a triangle between your forehead and shoulders.
- Get the Lighting Right
Turn on a desk lamp over your laptop so it shines on you, or sit facing a window. Experiment to get a light that illuminates your face in a flattering way. Make sure you're not back-lit. You don't want to appear as a shadow.
- Declutter the Background
This is one of those rare occasions when a blank wall comes in handy. Make sure you don't have a lot of distractions behind you. At the very least, make sure you're not showcasing a messy room, office, or kitchen.
If you have a clean and simple background, the recruiter will focus on you.
- Look Good
Check your appearance before you settle down and don't use the webcam to do it. You don't want to start your Skype interview while you're still doing your hair. For clothes, smart business casual is fine and don't forget to do your tie all the way up. Because there's only a small part of you on show, it is important to make sure you are well-dressed.
- Sit Up Straight
It's a simple tip but no one looks good when they're slouching. You should also avoid moving too much or touching your face. Employers will always be looking for you to make good eye contact, smile, listen and take an interest in what they're saying.
- Make Eye Contact
Don't stare at your own face. Resist that temptation, and look at the lens. Otherwise, your eyes will look slightly off focus.
- Use Notes
This isn't cheating, you can really help yourself with post-it notes or a copy of your CV handy when you interview. A benefit of having a video interview is that you can have a cheat sheet in front of you so that you don't have to memorize everything. Make sure this looks natural, and you are still prepared and comfortable without the additional notes. Just make sure your notes are easily scannable so that you use them for quick reference, not a script.
- Make Sure You're Not Interrupted
Clothes, lighting, camera position, room tidy, eye line – all good. Until your housemates come barging in…
If you live with family or friends, a big tip is to make sure everyone else in the house knows what you're doing. Ask someone to take the kids to the park, or the dog for a walk, which keeps the noise down and prevents people coming into the room. Lock the door if you can!
- Handle Any Technical Glitches with Grace
Things can go wrong. Your interviewer understands that. If something does happen, remain calm and friendly while you troubleshoot. Don't be afraid to ask to hang up the call and try again if your Skype is freezing up. It may show just how well you handle a stressful situation.
Pro tip: Make a test call to a friend sometime before your interview to make sure your audio and camera are working properly.
Getting Facebook notifications during your interview can be distracting. If the noise pops up, it can come off as unprofessional. Before your interview, make sure all other windows on your computer are closed. It is easy to miss out on this important step and could potentially impact your performance.
- Don't Forget to Smile!
At a face-to-face interview, you'd hopefully smile upon arrival, shake hands, and then try to keep a pleasant facial expression thought out the interview.It's more difficult to do this with a remote interview.So, make sure that you look happy and engaged throughout.
About the Author – MD of Broadcast Media Services, Andrew Ogden
Ex-producer for the BBC and ITV, Andrew was a newspaper, radio and television reporter, producer, presenter and director for nearly 20 years before forming Broadcast Media Services Ltd in 1997. BMS has been a Televisual magazine UK Top 50 Corporate Production studio since 2011 and is one of the UK's leading Media and Crisis Media Training companies.